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Five Possible British And Irish Lions Bolters

DARLINGTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Zach Mercer (C) of England during the U20 Six Nations match between England U20 and Italy U20 at Mowden Park on February 24, 2017 in Darlington, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

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The British and Irish Lions tour will be a hugely exciting time for the home nations, and whilst much of the squad will be made up of international stars, there could well be a place for an uncapped so-called bolter.

Here we take a look at five options in this department for Warren Gatland.


Darren Sweetnam (Munster)

The young Irish back three player has been astonishing this season with his blistering pace and quick feet. Sweetnam, who is quickly becoming a popular figure at Thomond Park, is just 23 years old and is keen to continue his development.

LIMERICK, IRELAND - DECEMBER 10: Darren Sweetnam of Munster off loads the ball during the European Champions Cup match between Munster and Leicester Tigers at Thomond Park on December 10, 2016 in Limerick, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

An Ireland call-up seems inevitable for the Munster man and he may be the perfect fit for a Lions bolter, with only a few options in his position performing well.


Keelan Giles (Ospreys)

Touted as Wales’ next big thing and at just 19 years old his potential is truly frightening. The winger has scored five tries in six appearances for the Wales Under-20 side so far and his Ospreys strike rate is even more frightening – scoring eight tries in just five games.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Keelan Giles of Wales U20 is tackled by Charlie Thacker (R) as Paolo Odogwu (L) of England U20 closes in during the Six Nations match between England U20 and Wales U20 at Ashton Gate on March 11, 2016 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Giles was named on the bench for Wales against Japan but failed to make an appearance. This teenager has a big future and it could all start with the Lions.


Sam Underhill (Ospreys)

The Bath-bound openside looks set to earn his first England cap as soon as he sets foot in Bath’s impressive training base, Farleigh House.

CARDIFF, WALES - APRIL 30: Sam Underhill of the Ospreys scores his try despite the efforts of Kristian Dacey during the Guinness Pro 12 match between Cardiff Blues and Ospreys at Principality Stadium on April 30, 2016 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Underhill is a traditional openside flanker: a scavenger, a ball-winner and on top of that he is becoming a formidable ball-carrying option for his region. The English flanker could be key component of Gatland’s back row.


4. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby)

Another fullback, Kinghorn has been somewhat of a revelation for the Scottish side. He has that special something, he is electric and leaves defenders clutching at thin air due to his footwork and pace.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Blair Kinghorn of Edinburgh looks on during the European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 5 match between Harlequins and Edinburgh Rugby at the Twickenham Stoop on January 14, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The 20-year-old will make a serious case for inclusion on the Lions tour if his form for Edinburgh continues and he is sure to keep Stuart Hogg on his toes for Scotland in the coming years.


5. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)

Injuries to Taulupe Faletau and David Denton have handed the England Under-20 international a chance to impress for Bath with his handling and pace being his standout features. 

COLWYN BAY, WALES - FEBRUARY 10: Zach Mercer of England during the U20 Six Nations match between Wales U20 and England U20 at Eirias Stadium on February 10, 2017 in Colwyn Bay, Wales. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

He has made his mark at Bath by popping up in the wide channels and providing both width and power to open up space for Bath’s lethal wide backs. The coming man for England, the Lions will be taking notice.

Fred Blagden, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

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